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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hatai v. Department of Transportation: Court Affirms Trial Court Decision To Exclude "Me Too" Evidence From Individuals Outside of Plaintiff's Protected Class

In Hatai v. Department of Transportation (3/4/13) --- Cal.App.4th ---, the plaintiff sued his supervisor and his employer, alleging that they discriminated against him because of his Japanese ancestry and Asian race. At trial, he sought to introduce evidence that his supervisor, who was of Arab descent, discriminated against any employee who was not of Arab descent. The trial court did not allow this evidence, but allowed evidence of anti-Asian animus. The jury found for the defendants, and the Court of Appeal affirmed.

It held that the trial court acted within its discretion in excluding "me too" evidence from individuals outside of the protected class that the plaintiff had alleged. The plaintiff had alleged anti-Japanese and anti-Asian discrimination. He had not alleged pro-Arab favoritism, and the trial court did not err in excluding evidence of such favoritism from trial. The Court d
istinguished Johnson v. United Cerebral Palsy/Spastic Children’s Foundation (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 740 and Pantoja v. Anton (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 87 because the evidence at issue in those cases came from individuals who were within the protected classes alleged by the plaintiffs.  Slip op. at 10-13. 

The opinion is available here

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